KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Along a strip of nearly a dozen shops and restaurants in Westport you’ll only find one with the open sign illuminated on Christmas day.
The O’Neal family started a tradition a decade ago at New Peking Chinese Restaurant.
“It’s very special,” Doyle O’Neal said.
O’Neal says he, his wife and daughter were inspired by the movie “A Christmas Story” and the duck for dinner. So, they decided to make Christmas at New Peking an annual event.
This year they brought together six of their 49 family members.
“It means to me that they’re all still here with me,” grandma said. “And I’m still here with them.”
Her granddaughter said, “My grandma here likes to tell me I’m one of her favorite grandchildren.”
Everyone has their favorite food, too!
“The hot and sour soup’s the best,” Doyle said.
“I feel very content knowing that I’m a part of a restaurant where a lot of people hold their traditions here, as well as my family,” Hostess Kathy Nguyen said.
Nguyen says her family was New Peking’s first catering event. Her aunt worked there, too.
“They treat us like family,” Nguyen said.
She says Christmas is one of their busiest days of the year.
“We even open up a whole other section of our restaurant that we just close off the rest of the year,” Nguyen said.
Despite New Peking being a packed house, it only took about ten or 15 minutes to get a table. But if you’re like Aaron Trujillo, who was picking up an order, it took closer to an hour.
Time is money for Trujillo. He’s working Doordash and Postmates this Christmas.
“I guess I celebrate Christmas,” Trujillo said. “I just don’t have that many people here to celebrate with so figured I’d just go out and make money instead.”
He says there’s less traffic and more parking – except at New Peking.
The O’Neals are thankful for that. They also want to put an offer on the table for next December 25th.
“We’ll be here next year around 1 o’clock,” O’Neal’s daughter said. “So, if you need somebody to sit with, come on down!”
Peking wasn’t the only restaurant open on Christmas. Denny’s, IHOP and Waffle House welcomed people, too.